Magic Mullins' seventh heaven
PAUL TOWNEND played a starring role at Cork yesterday with four winners – as Willie Mullins bagged three of his own to make it seven winners on the day for the champion trainer.
Matters started perfectly for Townend and Mullins as Upsie survived a scare or two to make it three from three over hurdles in the Follow Us On Facebook Rated Hurdle, and the pair doubled up in the next as 5/2 chance Valseur Lido took the www.racinghomeforeaster.com Maiden Hurdle.
Townend added further success on Ballyburke (5/1) for Philip Rothwell in the INH Stallion Owners EBF Beginners Chase and his day was complete when the Noel Meade-trained Protaras (11/2) claimed the Christmas Party Raceday December 8 Handicap Chase.
Townend said: "I had a four-timer in Punchestown two years ago. While it's nice to do it anywhere, it's great to do it at my local track.
"It's about time I had a bit of luck here. My father and family are here which makes it extra special. I rode my first winner over jumps for Noel."
The Mullins hat-trick came in the bumper as son Patrick partnered Rathvinden to an odds-on success.
The five-year-old Rathvinden is owned by Ronnie Bartlett of Simonsig fame, and Patrick Mullins said: "It's great to have a winner for this owner.
"We were going to go hurdling with him, but he was working so well we went for a winners bumper.
"I think five (winners) was our best day before, but seven is definitely our best day."
Elsewhere on the card, an impressive hurdling debut for Real Steel caught the eye as Philip Fenton's Old Vic gelding claimed the INH Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle.
Brian O'Connell's mount made most and was 17 lengths too strong for Crystal Earth. Fenton said: "He's a fine horse but needs to learn to settle; he got a little bit hot before coming into the parade ring but hasn't done that at home and is a gentle giant.
"He is a real future chaser, probably over two miles rather than further, and hopefully more racing will help settle him down."
Of stablemate The Tullow Tank, Fenton said: "He has to be supplemented for the Royal Bond but that's where he's likely to go."
Fenton added: "Dunguib and Last Instalment are in good form but aren't likely to be seen out until January."